Bullitt, Peter Yates, Pablo Ferro, Steve McQueen, Bill Hickman, Bud Ekins, Bruce Lee

Written by Joe D on August 5th, 2007

Here’s the title sequence from Bullitt. It was done by, guess who, the amazing Pablo Ferro. Steve McQueen saw a Peter Yates film called The Great Train Robbery and hired Peter for this movie. McQueen knew Pablo’s work and hired him for the credits. It’s a super cool credit sequence. Check it out.

Peter Yates told me that when they shot the finale to the great car chase, where the bad guys crash into a gas station and get blown to Kingdom Come, they had 5 cameras shooting it. At the last minute they decided to put one more camera in a cement filled industrial drum in the station, in harm’s way. Well as usual with a big pyrotechnic rig something went wrong. A stunt driver was towing the bad guys car with a cable and was to release it just before the gas station. The car was supposed to hit the gas pumps and a pyro guy was to hit the button blowing everything sky high. The car was released a little prematurely, the pyro guy hit the button, everything went KA-BOOM, but you could clearly see the gas station exploding before the car hit the pumps, they cursed their luck, thinking of what a drag it would be to rebuild the station. The next day at dailies, lo and behold, the footage from the camera added at the last minute, the one in the cement filled drum looked great, you couldn’t tell everything blew up too soon and that is the shot used in the final movie!

Good Luck Trying to Remake This Chase

The great stunt driver Bill Hickman drove the Mopar chase car, he was a driver for James Dean’s race team and was driving the station wagon follow car when Dean was killed. Hickman also did the car chase in The French Connection, another classic. Bud Ekins did the motorcycle stunt in Bullitt, sliding on the highway, he also did the motorcycle jump in The Great Escape and drove the truck on the rope suspension bridge in Friedkin’s Sorcerer. Bud was a good friend of Steve McQueen’s.

McQueen at the wheel of his killer Mustang

Recently McQueen’s first wife re-released a book she wrote about him. In it she says (and I agree) “Steve was like a wild animal” his screen presence always reminded me of footage of an animal in the jungle. The actor who I think was most like a wild animal though, would have to be the great Bruce Lee. He’s like a Cheetah or a leopard when he strikes and I think this phenomenon has a lot to do with both actors undying popularity.


Lee driving a Shelby Cobra

4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Oct

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Dec
    Richard Goldgewicht

    The opening sequence is indeed fantastic. Take a look at a new film with Jeff Bridges that is coming out on the life of Pablo Ferro, a multi-media between animation, documentary and motion-graphics….


  3. Dec

    I can’t wait to see your film, Pablo is a national treasure!

  4. Oct

    Thanks for the interesting video.

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